Re: interview and ethics

Subject: Re: interview and ethics
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 18:49:44 -0700 (PDT)

"G. Abenhaim" <g -dot- abenhaim -at- nhc -dot- com> wrote in message news:210587 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> "They made you an offer. You made them a counteroffer. They rejected your
> counteroffer. And they are unethical? How? "
> HI Andrew,
> Yes I agree with you that I do take a risk of my offer being rejected when I
> counteroffer. But they were really interested in me as the best candidate
> they found.

If they were "really interested" in you, then your counter offer wouldn't have
sent them into silence. This is the difference in working with decision makers
and informants. If you work with HR people, they are often NOT the decision
makers. So while a HR person might act like you're the best candidate ever, the
decision maker might decide otherwise.

While this is a crummy way of operation, its extremely common. People will
often act like they are the decision maker because they want the
respect/authority that goes along with such responsibilities. However, when it
gets right down to it, they have virtually no authority.

It sucks, its unfair, its life.

> I was dissapointed due to the fact the company never answered me
> to begin with. They just never got back to me,. If you are not interested in
> hiring me because you cannlot afford it, the simple respect I ask for is for
> you to pick up a phone and simply call to tell me that my offer got refused.
> Dont let me hanging. Thats all.

Agreed. It was bad manners. But, you followed up with them and found out. They
could have just been waiting to hear something from another candidate. The
answer to bad manners is simply have good manners yourself.

Keep in mind, that the HR person probably was embarrassed to talk to you at
that point. That person may have acted like you were the golden candidate, but
then was stopped cold by their boss. The HR person didn't want to have to face

> That way I will continue in my search with other companies tnank yo very
> much. I thought it was poorly done in the HR ethical way of doing things.
> But as you said earlier, there is no "ethical way" of doing things, I guess.
> /G

"Ethical" is one of those words that gets tossed around a lot, but people often
forget what it means. In order for somebody (or company) to be "ethical" there
has to be a code of conduct for them to follow. Violation of that code is then
"unethical." There is no "master business ethics" bible somewhere. There are
generally accepted guidelines and laws. Violation of laws, is illegal. But
illegal is not synonymous with unethical. Ethics and law, while closely
related, are not the same thing.

Therefore its important to distinguish between certain types of behaviors among
individuals and organizations:

1. Inhuman
2. Illegal
3. Unethical
4. Lame

Inhuman behavior is something akin to dousing people with gasoline and lighting
them on fire for entertainment. Something that truly transcends mere illegality
into an assault against humanity. War crimes fit into this category.

Illegal behavior is something that violates some local, state, or federal law.
Moreover, that must be proven as such. Illegal behavior is grounds for
CRIMINAL investigations and sometimes CIVIL litigation.

Unethical behavior is something that violates an established agreement or code
of ethics. For example, doctors have a code of ethics they agree to when they
are licensed. Violation of that code can lead to revocation of their license.
This may, or may not, also include (but not necessarily) illegal behaviors.
Another example would be breaking a contract. This type of behavior would fall
under some kind of CIVIL litigation or other governing body (like a board of
medical examiners for doctors.)

Lame behavior is stuff that is just pathetic, annoying, and exhibits bad
manners. Most business interactions, especially those relating to employment,
fall into this category. Its not illegal, inhuman, or unethical - just lame.

Furthermore, having a strong sense of right and wrong does not qualify a person
as fit to judge. Every situation is different, and everybody has a different
set of right and wrong. This is why codes of ethics and laws were created. They
provide something that isn't dependent upon personal interpretation.

So, while some TECHWR-L members might choose to label behaviors as ethical or
unethical, the fact is, they are in no better position to judge than you or I.
And the actual definition of "unethical" does mean to violate some code of
ethics that an organization agreed to. Since employers do not agree to ethical
codes that say "we'll call you back regardless the outcome" you cannot
rightfully (or reasonably) label such behavior as unethical.

Furthermore, morals and ethics are not the same. Morals are principles that
guide our sense of right and wrong, while ethics are a formalized set of rules
or codes. Hence, morals tend to be more personal, derived from a socially
constructed set of rules, whereas ethics are an externally established code, by
which people agree to uphold.

In the case of business, there really are not any business morals. There are,
however, ethics. But in order for something to be "unethical" there has to be a
clear statement of what IS ethical. While we may all agree that lying to
employees is wrong, it is not, by definition, unethical. Therefore, before you
fire up the rage against the machine soapbox rants, just keep in mind that just
because something bothers you or offends your morality, doesn't mean its
illegal or unethical.

The other thing to remember is that ALL companies do lame things and most do
unethical things. This is simply because companies are comprised of humans. And
humans are not perfect. Hence, the sum of any human endeavor is also imperfect.

Andrew Plato

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